- Actors: Harriet Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin, Anders Ek
- Directors: Ingmar Bergman
- Writers: Ingmar Bergman
- Producers: Ingmar Bergman, Lars-Owe Carlberg
- Format: PAL
- Language: Swedish
- Subtitles: English
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 18
- Studio: Tartan
- DVD Release Date: 25 Feb. 2002
- Run Time: 91 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00005V4WU
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,665 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Cries And Whispers  [DVD]
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DVD Special Features: Star and Director Filmographies
Philip Strick Film Notes
Extract from 'Bergman's book 'Images-My life in Film'
The Bergman Collection Trailer
Language: Swedish Dolby Digital
Video Aspect Ratio: Letterboxed 1.66:1
Ingmar Bergmans Cries and Whispers is a brilliant and at times shockingly traumatic piece of chamber cinema. It also represented a renaissance for Bergman, whose previous few films had flopped commercially. Set in a large house with interiors done out entirely in a disquieting red and against a soundtrack of ticking and barely audible chatter, the film features three of Bergmans female stalwarts. Harriet Andersson plays Agnes--a thirtysomething woman dying of cancer--Ingrid Thulin plays her sister Karin--non-tactile and caught in a marriage with a man she finds physically repulsive--and Liv Ulmann is the almost childishly sensual second sister Maria. Kari Sylwan, meanwhile, stars as the earth-motherly maid Anna, whose cradling of the dying Agnes against her naked bosom is one of the centrepieces of the movie.
Much of what transpires here can be construed as fantasy sequence, including one extraordinary incident in which Thulin cuts her vagina with broken glass and smears the blood over herself, in order to avoid sex with her husband. Agnes unbearable cries of anguish in her death throes, however, are all too real. Many familiar Bergman themes are explored in Cries And Whispers--mortality, the existence of God (here doubted by a Pastor) and the space between people. However, they are set against a singular, blood-red, dreamlike ambience that is irresistible. This is Bergman at his finest.
On the DVD: the dominant red backdrops of the movie are richly enhanced in this edition. Text-only extras include notes from Bergmans own memoirs. In a lengthy extract here, he reveals that he had considered Mix Farrow for the part of one of the sisters. Philip Stricks additional notes add further context and background--it seems that the films success in America was due to its distribution by, of all people, Roger Corman. --David StubbsSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
Like many of Bergman's films, CRIES AND WHISPERS shows the director's preoccupations with memory, communication, time, community, and death. The story is bleak: Agnes is dying and her sisters Karin and Maria have come to attend her during this final illness--but they prove unable to communicate in a meaningful way with either Agnes or each other, and Agnes' emotional care is left largely to her long-time maid, the devoted Anna.
As the film unwinds, we are bought into the memories of each woman in turn. The dying Agnes (played with powerful realism by Harriet Andersson) not only graples with increasing pain, she recalls with regret the emotional separation that existed between her long-dead mother and herself. Sister Maria (Liv Ullman), a mindless sensualist, recalls an act of adultry that has poisoned her marriage; Sister Karin (Ingrid Thulin), who is emotionally cold, recalls an act of self-mutilation designed to thwart her husband's desires. Only the maid Anna (Kari Sylwan), with a peasant's directness, actually works to be of comfort, even going so far as to cradle Agnes' head on her naked breast.
The film is ever so delicately tinged with subtle elements of lesbianism, sadomasochism, and incest, and the emotional problems experienced by Maria and Karin are at least partly sexual in nature--but these are not the focus of the film so much as they are surface indications of a deeper internal turmoil.Read more ›
Although set at the end of the 19th century, the film deals with themes that give the work a trans-historical relevance, though like any great work of art, it requires the full investment of one's faculties if one is to prize out its insights into human suffering. Some may find it pretentious, but then again, some people find anything beyond their powers of comprehension to be either mad or pretentious, consistent with the truth that the smaller the mind, the greater the assumption of infallibility and omniscience on the part of its possessor. Such reactions, which are common amongst viewers of Bergman's films, are little more than ego-saving devices that allow the viewer to rationalize away his own incompetence. As Blake said, "that which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care."
One of the things that really resonated with my own experience was the depiction of the loneliness of terminal illness, although I'm in remission. In terms of insight into this experience, the film has perhaps only been paralleled by Pialat's "La Gueule Ouverte".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a really moving film. It is one of my favourite Bergman filmsPublished on 11 Jan. 2015 by Julia King
A frightening and disturbing piece of filmmaking from the Swedish master. One of his greatest works.Published on 9 Dec. 2014 by MR LINKS
bergman experimenting with colour in this bleak drama about the relationship of three sisters one who is dying, and the inter relationship of the sisters and how unhappy their own... Read morePublished on 4 Aug. 2014 by Amazon Customer
An extraordinary film, though not alt all everyone's cup of tea, as I have always realised. Once seen, never forgotten, like most of Bergman's work.Published on 2 Nov. 2013 by Dr Robert E Blackburn
the acting in this film is excellent. it has you feeling everything from total pity for the sister who is dying of cancer, and the maid who cares for her better than her sisters,... Read morePublished on 10 July 2013 by sarah waters fan north east
Another Bergman masterpiece. The acting performances of Liv, Ingrid and Harriet are of an ultra high level. Read morePublished on 21 Jun. 2013 by starlightspacelab
This is the most disturbing of the few Bergman movies I've seen so far. The last one we watched previous to this was Smiles Of A Summer Night, an altogether different beast, being... Read morePublished on 17 Nov. 2012 by Sebastian Palmer